Princess Charlotte, who has just started school, is learning to “Be Kind.” That is the motto of the school that she and her brother, Prince George, attend. Simple, easy to remember, and a doddle to fulfil. Or not. How many of us find it easy to be kind?
To be kind requires action. It is more than a state of mind, though thinking kindness and speaking kindness are prerequisites to actively looking for, and taking, opportunities to be kind. This past week I’ve been on the receiving end of many small acts of kindness for which I’m thankful. Think of any kindness that you’ve received in recent days. Who gave it? What motivated such kindness? How was it given? How did you receive it?
Kindness is often conspicuous by its absence in political and media life. So where do we look for good examples of kindness? The Bible says that God “blesses us with kindness and honour,” that we live in the light of his kindness. When we discover God’s kindness and experience it in our lives, we learn – slowly, in all probability – to be kind. Peter, a disciple of Jesus who discovered the kindness of God, wrote, “Love one another and be kind and humble with one another.”
Let’s hope that the children who are learning to be kind in their early years will carry it forward into adulthood. My ‘progressive’ school didn’t have a motto and the mottos of many schools in the 19th and 20th centuries were either in Latin and incomprehensible or in English and yawn-inducing. Maybe you have your own personal motto. “Love while life shall last,” is good. And so is “Be kind.”